Prophet row: Fresh violence erupts in pockets of Howrah

National |  IANS  | Published :

Kolkata, June 11 (IANS) Fresh violence has erupted in certain pockets of Howrah district on Saturday morning as agitators staged demonstrations over the recent controversial remarks over Prophet Muhammad.

Tension broke out at minority-dominated Panchal area in Howrah district on Saturday morning after protesters attacked and ransacked a local club there. When the police tried to disperse them, the agitators pelted stones on the cops. The police had to resort to lathi charge and also fire teargas shells to disperse the mob.

Tension also prevailed in the minority-dominated Domjur area where the police station was attacked on late Friday evening. Some police vehicles were torched and around 12 policemen were injured in the incident.

The state government has taken certain steps to arrest the spread of violence in Howrah, which has become the state's epicentre of violence over the prophet row. Internet services have been suspended in the entire district both under the jurisdiction of Howrah rural district police and Howrah Police Commiserate till 6 a.m. on June 13 to prevent the rumours from spreading. Section 144 has also been imposed till 6 a.m. on June 15 in different pockets of the state like Panchal and Jagatballavpur areas, which are mostly minority dominated.

The West Bengal government has given a strong message and held BJP responsible for this. "I have said it before and saying it again that for the last two days there have been attempts to destabilize normal life in Howrah through violence. Some political parties, who are trying to create riots are responsible for this. This will not be tolerated. The common people cannot suffer because of the sin of the BJP," Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.

Meanwhile, BJP's national vice president and party MP, Dilip Ghosh reached a ransacked party office at Howrah's Mansatala on Saturday at around 11.30 a.m. "Tension was deliberately created in the media by spreading rumours through the social media. The police remained inactive against those who ransacked the office," Ghosh alleged.

Meanwhile, several senior BJP leaders were stopped by police from visiting tension-prone areas in Howrah district. BJP's state president in West Bengal and party MP, Sukanta Majumdar was stopped at his residence at New Town in the northern outskirts of Kolkata. BJP leader and advocate, Priyanka Tiberwal's car was also stopped on Second Hooghly Bridge that connects Kolkata with Howrah. BJP Lok Sabha member, Soumitra Khan has written to Union Home Minister, Amit Shah requesting him to initiate deployment of central armed forces in tension-prone pockets in the state to control the situation.

Meanwhile, a number of imams in West Bengal have issued appeals to the people to refrain from agitation and stay calm.

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